CORRECTED: Fixes Number of Minesweepers in US Ports 9:35 am 10/1/2012
Officially, despite rising tensions with Tehran, the enemy in in the international naval wargames that kicked off in the Gulf this week is not, repeat not, Iran: It’s radical environmentalists. Very, very well-armed environmentalists.

Against this fictional Greenpeace gone rogue are set the ships, aircraft, and divers from more than 20 nations, including an unprecedented concentration of Navy minesweepers, eight of which are now in the Gulf — a surge the Navy told Breaking Defense it cannot sustain long into 2013. Keep reading →

LAS VEGAS: “Keeping the sailor out of the minefield,” the Navy’s new mantra for mine warfare, means sending the robots in. As part of an annual exercise in July called “Trident Warrior,” the fleet experimented with an unmanned ship developed by Textron subsidiary AAI and known blandly as the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV).

The video, provided by AAI, shows two CUSVs — the only two in existence — streaking out to sea during Trident Warrior to hunt simulated naval mines. The two boats look identical, but the “common” part of the CUSV name refers to the design’s ability to serve as a common carrier for a host of mission-specific payloads. They slot into a bay in the stern. Keep reading →

There’s been a fair bit of buzz online of late over experiments with a technology called a “laser-induced plasma channel” – essentially, laser-guided, artificially generated lightning bolts – at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. But, militarily, what’s it good for? Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Iran’s threat to strangle oil tanker traffic through the Straits of Hormuz has the Navy scrambling to redress its decades-old neglect of mine warfare. Admirals from the Chief of Naval Operations on down have publicly admitted the service is not where it needs to be.

“What I find amazing is the amount of interest that’s being afforded mine warfare by the senior navy leadership,” said Scott Truver, a naval analyst and author. “It’s all due to the Iranian threat to close — if indeed it is possible to close — the Hormuz Straits.” Keep reading →

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD [updated 7:30 am Thursday 19 April with Congressional comment and Raymond Pritchett’s retraction] : The smartest man in the Department of the Navy, Under Secretary Robert O. Work, erupted today in a passionate defense of the service’s integrity in how it counts its ships and of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship‘s place as the most numerous class in the future fleet. Keep reading →